Discovering Peace in Disorder

Dear Self,

I saw you hopelessly staring at the piles in your living room yesterday and watched you pick at the duct tape on the floor with your toes.  I also heard you sigh as you stared out the kitchen window only to have your vision obscured by cardboard covering a whole made by a stray arrow from your brothers’ heroic adventures.  You see messes caused by a busy life, but that’s not what others see.  

“The way you keep your house, the way you organize your time, the care you take in your personal appearance, the things you spend your money on, all speak loudly about what you believe. The beauty of thy peace shines forth in an ordered life. A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul.”

This quote by Elisabeth Elliot doesn’t mean what you’ve always thought it meant.  True, God is an orderly God (1 Cor 14:33), disorder means to be out of order, disturbed, confused (Webster 1828), but our hope is supposed to be in God – not sparkling kitchens and spotless schoolrooms (Psalm 42:3).  

The order both Paul is writing about in 1 Corinthians and Elizabeth Elliot is referring to is order of the heart – soul order.  The danger of seeking order is that we so often order our life and home before we order our soul.  If you were not so busy, you might have a sparkling kitchen but you would have a disordered soul and your priorities would not reflect and God of order.  Sometimes the proof of an ordered soul are piles in the school room.

The danger of seeking order is that we often
order our home before we order our soul.

God is solid, He does not change like a kitchen – sparkling one minute trashed the next.  I certainly don’t want to have my hope in something so temperamental.  But when my hope is in God, my value and ability doesn’t hinge on the dishes that are or aren’t in the sink.  I can love others and walk in the joy and peace of God no matter what.

In Christ alone my hope is found
Not in my kitchen, sparkling white
This duct tape on, the fake wood ground
Won’t keep me from His joy and peace

Joanna said that when she walks into your house she feels peace, not disorder.  “Admittedly, there are piles,” she smiles, “and duct tape covering a crack in your laminate wood floor, but honestly that makes me feel better.  When I walk into your home I feel loved.  I feel wanted.  I feel home.  I don’t care about the cardboard on your window keeping out the wind because a boy shot an arrow through it.  It makes me laugh because the pile, duct tape, and cardboard prove life has been lived, hearts have been prioritized, and hope has prevailed.”

Order your soul first and your life will follow.

So, don’t be discouraged.  Try not to get it backwards by ordering your life and possessions before your soul.   Instead, order your soul and your life will follow suit.  



P.S.  Do you order your soul first or your life and possessions?

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  1. Love it. What a great reminder to put God as our priorities. My favorite quote is: “The danger of seeking order is that we often
    order our home before we order our soul.” Thanks for the insight!

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